Roubik Bees

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Taxonomy of the euglossines

The taxonomy of euglossine orchid bees is sometimes difficult due to the lack of male type specimens, because females do not possess known diagnostic characteristics to clearly establish species identity, at least in many "damned little green bees" of the Euglossa.

Male and female are seldom described together in the same work, thus allotypes, however potentially useful (particularly when a male to a described female is later discovered) do not exist. The preferred diagnostic specimen, a male, can still be made known, described, depicted, and deposited in a major museum for reference. Naturally, for those unable to request or receive type specimens themselves, the provisional keys or descriptions in the literature may leave doubts or, in the face of undescribed species, simply be inadequate. Aside from these troubles, euglossine taxonomy seems to be in very good shape. Padre Moure, R. L. Dressler, L. S. Kimsey, and others, have described many species and placed the revised status of many in order.

The Smithsonian Institution retains euglossine type specimens of over 70 species, which I depicted here so that diagnostic characteristics (for males: face and head, hind tibia, mid tibia) and in the females (habitus or whole specimen, dorsal or lateral) can be viewed, in labeled reference files. All were photographed at Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C., using the Automontage system, through the courtesy of Dr. T. Schultz and assistants. I 'cleaned up' images and removed extraneous portions of specimens in the depictions. Collection data are appended, and every image is attached to the genus, species, author and publication date, for reference. All pictures are type specimens (holotype, paratype, allotype) as noted in the metadata, with a few exceptions. Those exceptions are either to depict the topotype male (from the same locality as the holotype female) or a male, identified by an authority listed in the metadata, that I use to depict the male corresponding to a female type specimen, for which no allotype male was available from the material examined by the original taxonomic author.

Please do not use them in publications without due acknowledgment.

David W. Roubik
Senior scientist, entomologist
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Balboa, Republic of Panamá
December, 2006

David Roubik orchid bee stri albeja orquidia